Plantar Fasciitis – Symptoms and Best Treatment
What you need to know about plantar fasciitis symptoms, treatment, and avoiding surgery.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition of the plantar fascia that is a supportive connective tissue. The plantar fascia helps form the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis commonly involves the heel area and feels like a sharp, needle-like pain. Pain from plantar fasciitis is most severe upon waking up or after long periods of rest. It should be known that plantar fasciitis is a misnomer. Because there is usually no inflammation, plantar fasciosis is the more correct term.
What causes plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciois?
Common causes of plantar fasciitis include overuse such as running long distances, rapid changes in weight such as obesity and pregnancy. Also, long periods of standing with little movement cause pain from plantar fasciitis. The fascia stretches and overloads the tissue causing microtears. There is a breakdown of the collagen matrix which leads to scar tissue buildup. One cause of plantar fasciitis that is often overlooked is the loss and destabilization of the foot arch.
One Important Muscle
A small muscle of huge importance is the posterior tibialis. Most people have never heard of the posterior tibialis although it has huge implications in foot health. The action of the posterior tibialis is to scoop the bottom of the foot towards the midline of the body, also known as inversion. It also has another major function. It stabilizes the foot arch during standing and walking. If the tibialis posterior is not strong, it will lead to decreased medial longitudinal arch height also knows as flat feet or pes planus.
The Problem With Flat Feet
Many people have flat feet or pes planus. One of the reasons why flat feet are common is that we artificially support the arch of the foot through improper footwear or supportive orthotics. This is often counterproductive. If your arch is flat, it is likely that your foot is weak. The first step to correct this is to strengthen the foot. Supportive footwear or orthotics prevent normal foot motion and lead to foot muscle atrophy. The best way to strengthen and stabilize the foot is to remove supportive orthotics and transition to flat, flexible, and naturally shaped footwear or go barefoot entirely. Challenging muscles to move in an unsupported environment will strengthen foot muscles, rebuild, and restabilize the arch.
What happens in Plantar Fasciitis
As the foot becomes flat and unstable, it creates a greater distance between the origin and insertion of the plantar fascia. The origin and insertion become further apart, it stresses the plantar fascia more and more. Thus, the plantar fascia becomes more and more stressed, it creates pain. This pain is often felt at the origin of the plantar fascia on the heel bone.
Massage may help temporarily but not fully get to the root cause. It was previously thought that the most effective treatment was to stretch, ice and rest the plantar fascia. Currently, the literature doesn’t fully support that theory. The current research states that the best results are to strengthen the foot muscles. Stretching relieves some pain temporarily but it doesn’t fix the cause of an unstable foot arch. Strengthening the foot will stabilize it and stretching it will further the destabilize the foot and keep the stress on the plantar fascia. Chiropractic adjustments to the foot may prove beneficial and are worth investigation.
To prevent and cure plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciosis one must restructure the foot. This can be done by properly aligning the foot through chiropractic adjustments, stretching certain tissue, and strengthening other tissue. Also, proper footwear should be implemented that produces proper foot movement without arch support and orthotics. At Family First Spine Center we assess the gait, foot strength, and footwear to achieve great results with plantar fasciitis.